The Girl in the room began to cry.
The words they say, she wondered why.
Did they mean to be so cruel?
She’s all alone in such a large school.
What was this lesson they wanted to teach?
An exercise in freedom of speech?
The words grew louder and through the din.
She asks – is this because the colour of my skin?
Don’t make a fuss, try not to start
They’re just being funny. Don’t take it to heart.
These are just words that people do say
They know no better. They’ll go away.
But the words did continue today and tomorrow
The words so hurtful, causing such sorrow.
Why won’t they stop? Why won’t they leave?
Why can’t she have a silent reprieve?
These are just words stop being a fool.
Quit making a fuss and get on with school
Words cannot hurt. They are just having fun.
Now quick off you go. Back to class. Run.
Run she did to her special place
Words cannot find her in this silent space
High above, on a branch in a tree.
Away from the words is where she could be free.
A freedom she wanted to feel forever.
But in that tree she asked herself whether
To come down now the words she would hear.
Those words that cause such upset and fear.
No ground she feels beneath her feet.
And soon only silence she will meet.
No longer will the words that they say
Make her feel unhappy for one more day
The Girl in the tree.
(Art by Rob Ahmad)